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Study Reveals Increase of Heart Attack Deaths on Race Day [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 14, 2017 09:58 AM EDT

Probably just like everyone else who has been stuck in heavy traffic, Dr. Anupam Jena had wondered how it would be for people with emergencies reach the hospital on time. He and his team of researchers from Harvard Medical School showed in a study that the increase of heart attack deaths on race day is related to the longer time it took a patient to receive emergency heart care.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study revealed that an event as big as a marathon, parade, concert or fair, can cause traffic detours because of a large crowd. But besides the obvious effect of such events, the researchers found out that for every 100 people suffering a heart attack or cardiac arrest, three or four more people died within a month if they had sought care during one of these events, the Associated Press reported.

The study covered hospitalizations of more than 12,000 individuals not participating in a race in 11 cities on marathon and non-marathon dates from 2002 - 2013. The study found that heart attack deaths on race day rose 13 percent. If there was a race, it took 3 to 5 minutes longer for an ambulance to reach the hospital than on a regular day, Reuters reported.

The researchers focused on data from Medicare so they could lessen the likelihood of the patient not being from the area or a race participant.

Another concern raised by the researchers was that they found out that around a quarter of the people they had studied arrived in the hospital alone. The researchers cautioned that this would not be the time to drive alone to the hospital as the ensuing traffic from the event could cause even more delays for the patient.

This study on heart attack deaths on race day is observational. It does not directly show the cause and effect and may have missed other factors that may have contributed to the sudden spike in number of heart attack deaths during the marathon.

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